Two  things I say to couples when we first meet is to tell them “I’m there for you.” and “Your wedding day is going to happen to you.” If we create a schedule of photography for the day, I’m sticking to that. It’s your day, your schedule.” And I mean it. I definitely give suggestions for photography, but in the end, if you as a couple choose to have your first look at noon, we’re doing it that way. In fact, I’ve learned to love shooting at times like noon and 2 pm. I’ve learned to harness light differently in my camera because of these schedules, and in the end I’m always so glad we did things at the time we did. It all happened at the time it was supposed to.

The second thing I always tell couples is, “Your wedding day is going to happen to you.” Everyone laughs at that, but the point is that things are going to happen, and they’re going to happen to you. So one of the best things you can do for yourself is, as much as possible, to live the day as it’s unfolding. But this brings me to my point.

One of things I love about weddings is that the day shifts between emotions, weather, activity. The time spent prepping is usually a bit slower, but still has the potential for tension and emotions. People are coming in and out, asking you questions. You’re sitting in a chair which is supposed to be a relaxing experience. But your phone is pinging with congratulatory texts, people are coming in and out with questions. You’re still making decisions up to the last minute, even though they’re fun. But it can be taxing. It part of the umami of wedding emotions that’s hard to explain. BUt it exists. I read about it all the time. I see it in brides faces on their wedding days. Here’s how I try to counteract that: I try to build in a few minutes of alone time for a bride.

If at all possible when we’re creating the photography schedule together, I build in a buffer of 15 to 20 minutes. Most of my couples are great about the schedule and even run ahead. So I try as much as possible to spend a few about 10 minutes with the just bride. I ask her to sit in a room, and I stand outside the door, or on the other side of the room, and I simply tell her to just be, that I’m going to take a few simple images. After 5 minutes I let her have another few minutes to herself. Later when I’m going through those images, I love feeling the peace and stillness in them. It’s kind of a sacred moment to me.  And these images are always some of my favorites.

Here’s a couple of other suggestions for having a few minutes to yourself throughout the day.

  1. A wedding coordinator can handle all the questions for you, letting you keep your time during hair and makeup to yourself. In the case that your budget doesn’t allow a wedding coordinator, you can task a close friend to take care of people’s questions.
  2. Have a time that’s media free. No phones, just some music and mimosas as you see fit. The quietness and lack of a phone might be weird at first, but it gives you the opportunity to come down a little from all the busyness of the day.

So in the end, the best advice I can give people about their schedule, and constant questions and everything really, is this, “Your wedding day is going to happen to you. Just let it unfold in the way that it should. Your 1 goal is to end the day married to each other. It’s that simple and that complicated.”

I’d love to chat about wedding day schedules, or any wedding related thing actually. We can find a time that words best for us when you can contact me here.   

You might also enjoy these other wedding related articles.

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I’ve photographed weddings in a few different languages now. And last month at this Villa De L’Amour  wedding was the 4th language. – English Spanish, Portuguese and Korean. I love languages that take place in different languages. I never feel awkward or like I’m being left out. I normally tell couples on the day of their wedding to ignore me until after the ceremony, and I stay out of their way let the day unfold and document emotional connections and feelings and events as they present themselves.

The mage below was one of my favorite images of the day was the last image I photographed. In any language, a father’s love for his daughter is the purest form of love. It’s truly a gospel love, showing me how much the Lord loves me as a daughter, and it’s one of my favorite parts of a wedding to watch a father toast his daughter and her new life. And judging from the tears from more than one person, the words were beautiful. Words aren’t necessary to understand and appreciate love. It shows itself off in the simplest and most beautiful forms.

 

Villa De L'amour wedding

Villa De L’amour

A Villa De L’amour wedding is always beautiful. I love the mediterranean look of the courtyard, and the modern cement floors inside. The lighting in the ceremony room creates a bright but intimate atmosphere, and the gates make for a beautiful entrance and exit.  And you can’t beat the location! Right in downtown High Point, near hotels and restaurants, and there’s so much parking on the weekend! It’s a great place right there in the city, perfect to host a ton of people, and east for caterers to bring banging food, and bartenders to mix awesome cocktails. Billie, the owner is really nice, super helpful, always professional. You can’t go wrong by at least taking a tour of the Villa.

 

Enjoy these images! If you love them, please visit my portfolio or my pricing page and inquire about your own wedding.

 

Villa de l'amour weddingVilla De L'amor weddingVilla De L'amour WeddingVilla De L'amour WeddingVilla De L'amour Wedding

 Villa De L'amour Wedding

 

Villa De L'amour Wedding

Villa De L'amour WeddingVilla De L'amour Wedding

villa de lamour weddingVilla De L'amour WeddingVilla De L'amour WeddingVilla De L'amour WeddingVilla De L'amour Weddingvilla de l'amour wedding

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I love music that is real, born out of real life. That was the real motivation behind these 4 modern love songs for your first dance. And if you’re a couple that’s anything like me, your first dance is sort like a statement of what brought you together and the sentiment behind what’s going to keep you together. I’ve combed through my favorite artists and bands and picked out 4 songs that I think are really meaningful or just plain fun. I’m presenting presenting my favorite one last, and I picked them based on the fact that 1) they’re different. 2) you can really get down to them- so make sure you break out all your best moves! Even slightly choreographed first dances photograph better than ones where couples just sway in a circle. 3) They’re not too long, and they have beautiful meaningful lyrics that speak not only to love in its happy clappy form, but to the idea that love is hard and had deep challenges but that’s also what makes it beautiful. I linked to their videos and I put my favorite lines below.

NERD ALERT: With one of the songs, Ulysses, it helps to have to some background knowledge of Homer’s Odyssey, which I’ve read 2-3 times and each time I love it more. Get an updated English version that also retains its verse form. If you’ve never read classical literature, The Iliad and the Odyssey are a good place to start.

 

The Heart- Need to Breathe

I’m not going to lie, I first heard this song on Heart of Dixie, one my of favorite mindless pleasure TV shows. It was on the very last episode of the show, and I love how it speaks to the enduring nature of love.

Favorite Lyrics: Be my winter in this living hell/be my dying wish in this wishing well/oh well.

This song is just a fun upbeat dance song. It’s perfect for the couple who wants something different and fun with lyrics that people can think about a bit, without getting too caught up in their meaning.

 

Ulysses- JOsh Garrels

JOsh Garrels is totes my fav. I could listen to him all day and never get tired of him. His lyrics have a lot of meaning and depth and reflect the idea that love is often beauty and difficulty mixed together in a precarious balance. I love everything he creates. Ulysses is perfect for the couple who overcame a lot to arrive to their wedding day and they want to acknowledge that without making it huge focus. Making Ulysses a first dance choice makes it a super intimate moment they can share between both themselves and with their guests.

Favorite Lyrics: I’m sailing home to you I wont be long
By the light of moon I will press on

 

Million Miles- JOsh Garrels

Million Miles is a simple song celebrating longevity in relationships and love. I love that the song reaches into the futures with hopes that their life and love continues just as strongly as it started.

As we grow old, may it be told, that we,
never lost our flame
If love’s a fire, Then our desire, is to burn,
untamed

 

Band of Gold- The Gray Havens

Honestly, if I could do my wedding over again, this is the song I would pick for our first dance. It’s a beautiful simple song about commitment in marriage and hope in spite of the fact that this singer songwriter and couple both know that marriage has moments of tough interspersed with hope and optimism.

Favorite Lyrics:

And the storms that come and cover up the moon
They may steal away the starry skies we knew
But they can’t take away can’t take away what’s true
I belong, I still belong, I belong to you.

And there you have it! 4 modern love songs for your first dance is in the bag. I’d love to hear your suggestions for first dances that will inspire people to try new music, and be meaningful for you and your new spouse to break it down to.

Happy Planning!

Charity

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When I got married, I had very few ideas about my wedding or what it should look like. I wanted things to be bright and colorful, and I wanted to get married at a vineyard or at the beach. I really didn’t care much about the rest of it.

Being the first child in my family to get married, we all just mucked about in confusion, planning a wedding from opposite sides of the country. One of my family members had strong opinions that weddings should take place in church. I was 24. I didn’t know how to stand my ground or really even be my own person. So where did I get married? In my dark, ugly church. 15 years of a beautiful marriage later, despite all the blessing and joy of my marriage, I still feel remorse over that * (read to the bottom for my happy ending!). But ultimately, it helped me to become my own person, and to stop giving so much of a flying whatever about what others think.

I can guarantee that this is probably happening to you on some level. There’s something you’re waffling on in wedding planning, and friends and family are coming at you from all sides. If it’s not friends and family it’s the internet, other wedding vendors, who ever. I know this feeling. It’s frustration, sadness, joy and excitement all rolled into one. It’s the umami of wedding emotions. You can’t put your finger on it, but it’s there. I know this feeling well. You are not alone it it.

So my one piece of advice for you today is that to think about the one thing about your wedding you really want to be true. To be real. Think about 20 years from now, when you look back on your day, what’s the one thing you want to be true and to really FEEL from that day? Scents of roses? Laughter of happy people? You dress? Your venue? Be honest with yourself. Don’t let yourself feel bad or guilty for it- just say to yourself that this is the ONE thing you want.  This one thing is your big emotional investment in the day after your vows, so don’t let it go if you don’t absolutely have to.

You’ve got this thing. Don’t be afraid to make it happen.

*Earlier this spring, one of my favorite photographers, Tim Coulson, announced he was coming from Australia to America. I told my husband I did not care how much he charged, we were having a session with him if he was open to doing one on his trip to the US, and that we were going to stand on the beach on Tybee Island, and read short, heartfelt, handwritten notes to each other. So on July 15th, I get my wish; and while there’s definitely a lot I wish was not happening right now personally, this the thing I’m holding on for this summer. This session is basically my emotional redo, where we and the kids run around a place we love and be photographed professionally for the first time as a family. I know that I’ll look back on those images and that short 90 minute session as the one of the highpoints (after each of my children joining our family) of my 30’s. It’s worth it to plant your flag. You won’t regret it.

 

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So today’s little blog is for you photographers out there- How to shoot macro without a macro lens.

People do this alllll the time, and I’m sure there’s a million blogs out there, with any number of nice pictures and insights and instructions. So I’m adding mine. Because I’m a simple straightforward sort of gal, I’m going to make it simple and straight forward. I don’t own or a rent a macro lens. I use my Canon 35 mm 1.4 on one of my canon 6d’s.

How to shoot macro without a macro lens

The first point I want to make is that it works best to use a calibrated lens. I use a wide lens, a 35mm 1.4 by canon. The lens you use doesn’t matter much. I’ve done the same work with a 24-70, a 50, and even a 24mm 1.4. But having a lens calibrated helps a lot. Things are crisper and the focus is true, which is what you want when you learn how to shoot macro without a macro lens. The process is the same after that. You can google how to calibrate a lens and do it yourself, but I actually pay to have mine done at Southeastern Camera in Raleigh twice a year. They do it while I’m waiting. They also laugh (in a friendly good natured way) at me for not doing it myself.

In this first image below, I was outside with a set of rings around 7PM earlier this spring. I artfully set them up, then decided to shoot fairly wide open, with center point focusing. I almost never do this, which I’ll explain below. But I’ve been living life on the edge lately, so I threw all caution to the wind and went for it. Lots of people shoot macro like this with their 35.  My exif data is ISO 250 35mm 1.4 f2.0 at 1/2000. (SIDE NOTE: I underexposed on purpose. I do it frequently with details because I don’t want anything blown out. When I look at the image in LR, I want all the details possible. So I underexpose to the point where I can still see detail, and know that when I bring it up, it’s all going to be ok. This also how I preserve sky in images. That’ll be a seperate post one day.)

Anyways, I shoot a wide shot, keeping the stone in the center of the red center focus square- ther very center of the center. I position my feet for stability, I take a deep breath, I take the shot. Basically when you’re so wide open and so close to your subject any little movement is going to ruin the shot and your image will be out of focus.  You want to be steady. Ideally, I should be using a tripod for these shots, but I have limited time, sometimes as little at 3 minutes, so I’ve learned to shoot sans tripod and sans macro lens for speed and convenience.

Shooting wide open macro like this is really hard. It’s harder if your lens isn’t calibrated. So if you try it and you have a card full of out of focus images, don’t give up. Calibrate and keep trying.  Or use the exif info below and try again. In LR, I ran it through my preset, then brought up the exposure, applied a brush on the stone and band and adjusted exposure, clarity, sharpness highlights, and noise. Then I back out of the brush mode, and applied noise reduction, chromatic aberration correction, and sharpness to the overall image. I might go back in and some more tone adjustment because it looks a little flat.

EXIF: ISO 250, 35mm , f2.0 at 1/2000.

 

This shot below uses the same editing and shooting process but the exif is different. It’s honestly what I normally do. I use a fast shutter and smaller aperture to counteract my notoriously shaky hands and unsteady posture. Sometimes you’re cramming yourself into weird positions, and I usually lose my balance. Some people are rocks and have non shaky hands.  A smaller aperture and faster shutter help me produce better images in macro work. I honestly don’t do this sort of work much either. I do something much more organic. This wedding the bride loved the styled look, and I was happy to honor her wishes and I love how this second image preserved the details of the ring as well as the paint on the cement column base I was using.

ISO 2500 35mm, f4.0, 1/3200

So which one am I going to deliver?

Both actually. I prefer the shot at 4.0. I like that there’s more detail preserved, and I like the exposure better. The 2.0 shot is fine. I don’t care for intense depth of field in macro work. I like to see everything and the focus is just on the main stone. The choice is a stylistic one. My client will love them both.

I hope that this super short tutorial about learning how to shoot macro without a macro lens is helpful. I know that I struggled a ton at the beginning and I sort of stumbled upon this method. So if you’re feeling a bit discouraged, do not give up! You’ll find your way. A lot of technique in photography is really a matter of personal preference and style. If you know the technique, and you know what works best for you, then you’re well on your way.

Have fun! Macro on-

xo,

Charity

 

Venue: Greensboro Country Club

Rings: DIamonds Direct

Photography: One Crazy Love

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